Mod policy on mental illness

I’ve been following this topic both here and in unfounded assumptions, and this is the most useful explanation/analysis I’ve seen. In particular, the paragraph quoted above is a primer on how to write a relevant, thoughtful comment; I’m printing it out and taping it to my monitor for easier reference. Well said.


I missed this last night, but I wanted to clear this up a little. I’m not using sane to describe someone who isn’t mentally ill. A person can definitely be mentally ill and still be sane. Someone who is sane is of sound mind in regards to the situation and therefore responsible for their behavior.

Calling someone e.g. an asshole implies that you think the person is responsible for their behavior, therefore you think they are sane. The alternative would be that you were calling someone an asshole while believing that they were not responsible for their behavior, and I think the vast majority of us are not the type of person who would do that.

1 Like

The situation I’m talking about is this:

  • I watch a video that looks to me based on my experience (and recall it doesn’t matter what my experience is) like someone who is having a full manic episode.
  • I am confident that some other people who have experienced a manic episode will also believe she is having a manic episode.
  • Having a manic episode is a tragic thing. So I don’t see the humor or outrage that presumably the video is there to inspire.
  • I go to the comments and find that people are saying shitty things about her, not “what a lunatic” but “what an asshole”.
  • I think they’re wrong, and further that it would be mean and stigmatizing for someone with her condition to read them.

So the comment I leave is

Umm, that lady was saying they needed to land the plane in part because the magazine she was holding had a special destination that it needed to get to. I don’t think she was being an asshole; I think she was having some kind of episode or attack.

Will it get flagged? Or more to the point, will it get removed? I don’t think I’m making an assumption about her mental state - If I say “I think it rained yesterday” I’m not assuming it rained. Further, the rule was put in place to prevent stigmatizing mental illness, and my post has the same goal.

1 Like

Yes. You are making an unfounded assumption without corroboration. I don’t believe such a comment is intended to be in bad faith, but It doesn’t belong on the BBS.

A well-worded version of ”to me, this person is suffering from a mental issue”, is still unsubstantiated attribution of aberrant behaviour to mental illness.


Speaking as someone with personal experience, right down to thoughts and behaviours I can’t always control: that may be your goal, but you’re missing the net by a mile. All you’re doing is succeeding in conflating the behaviour with mental illness, and adding to the stigma. You’re making it harder for people to seek help, because they don’t want to admit that there’s a problem, because they don’t want people looking sideways at them like they’re going to explode. The more you keep saying “don’t judge, they might be mentally ill,” the more people link assholish, evil, or just nasty behaviour with being mentally ill, and the more they fear us. The more they other us.

In other words, you’re not helping.


@jtiii If I have read everything so far accurately, your concern is people incorrectly labeling a person an asshole when there might be extenuating circumstances. Your suggested approach is to possibly incorrectly label the person with a mental disorder.

If you see people piling on someone and applying non-fact based labeling mental or otherwise. Rather than fighting labeling with labeling. Another approach would be to call this out. To say, hey, we don’t know this person’s circumstances. They may just be an asshole or they may have other things going on effecting their behavior. Lacking facts, how about we don’t punch down?

For many this will be enough to second think the negative post they were about to write. Some will persist and frankly nothing you can say will stop them. But at least you can add a voice of reason when folks are busting out the virtual pitchforks.


Thanks Gary and @orenwolf. I appreciate you two talking with me about this. When I read this new (to me) rule I immediately thought about that post with Airplane Cigarette Woman and how people had assumed she was just a horrible person. The nature of the comments had changed after I and 1 other person had posted that it was awful that this woman had an episode of some sort in pretty much the worst place possible.

Ohrenwolf had said that this summed up the rule -

The point of the rule is to prevent ascribing deliberate, evil actions to mental illness.
People with mental illnesses are just that: people. We don’t need asshats impugning us.
Spirit of the rule matters, not just the strict wording.

I really didn’t think I was violating the spirit of it, and I just wanted to know where the boundary of this rule was. I was just having a hard time articulating that point I guess. Thank you for having a good faith discussion with me about it.

Well jeez Gary, when you put it that way :joy: I’m not sure if that sounds funnier in the voice of Spock or John Cleese.

HAHAHAHA I vote Batman.

1 Like

Thanks Ken. I appreciate you discussing this with me and I totally get the rule. I just want you to know, since I imagine this may come up again, that a psychotic break is a symptom, not a mental illness. Drugs, tumors, sleep deprivation, trauma, and mental illness are some of the things that can cause psychosis. Saying you think someone is having a psychotic episode is like saying you think someone’s nose is running, not like saying you think someone has a cold. I completely get though that to many folks it sounds like a diagnosis and so shouldn’t be used.

Also, if you did, thanks for pulling the comment calling me a troll. I thought it was fairly shitty but I wasn’t gonna flag it 'cause I didn’t want to come off like a little bitch…

I would totally agree IF you had started it off “Listen to me you rotten little punk”

1 Like

always flag. Everyone, always flag. We can’t read every post, and flags are 1) how you get mod attention, and 2) how you, and others, working together, can affect automated hiding of posts.

Mods review all flags, but better for a comment to be temporarily flagged, and reversed, than for posts that violate our standards to remain indefinitely, hoping the mods stumble on them.


Batdad and How it Should Have Ended Batmans are closer to my inner voice.

Thanks /s for making me aware of this guy, I watched about 90 minutes of this last night. It’s hilarious until you start to feel like that marriage might be a slow motion car crash. There’s no way I could put up with my spouse giving me repeated jump scares

1 Like

Oh I forgot he does that. Yes, I am not a fan of the jump scare. Maybe once a decade. After that it turns into some sort of low level torture.

1 Like

I have to admit, first thing that popped to my mind was “Wow, addiction is a bitch.” Then i wondered if that would violate the mental health rule, addiction being among tbe most common of afflictions. Not sure how close this will get called, and posts in violation vanishing means I only find out if mine crosses the line. Being a very intrinsically sarcastic guy, I fear I will eventually do so.

1 Like

Not sure why that quoted, but I guess I will just roll with it.

This topic was automatically closed 30 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.